Lani Adeoye has made a name for herself as the first African to win first prize at Milan’s Salone Satellite Exhibition. Salone Satellite is the most prestigious design competition in the world for designers under 35 and it is under Italy’s Salone del Mobile Milano.
Designer and creative director Adeoye designed ten luxurious lighting and furniture pieces and debuted her new EKAABO collection, all handmade in Nigeria and shipped to Italy. Her brand Studio Lani also ships items ranging from lighting, furniture, product design, stage design and fashion to the United States of America, England, France, Ghana, Germany and Togo.
According to her, she used to make all products by herself until recently when she worked with various artists and artisans to bring the products to life. She learned how to weld in order to appreciate how to work with metal and when she started exploring leather, she weaved it all by herself.
Adeoye use to work in the corporate world and often found herself sketching designs as a creative outlet, and some of those designs came to life years later. According to her, going into the fashion industry was an “unknown creative path” for her. Nonetheless, she decided to go into it “afraid”, leading to the launching of Studio Lani.
“For me, regret is a heavier burden than failure. I took a huge pay cut, and it was difficult to adjust to that, but I was relentless about my passion for exploring design from a different perspective,” she told the Punch Newspaper.
“My faith in God has also allowed me to persevere despite the many challenges that have come. Like many creatives can attest to, it is not usually a linear path but I have consistently worked hard and stayed true to my dreams.
Adeoye, who is a Nigerian Canadian, was raised in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest commercial city. At an early age, she became very passionate about arts and even participated in a number of art events. At the university, she studied commerce with a triple concentration in Information Systems, Strategy and Marketing.
His family migrated to Canada but Adeoye would return to Nigeria to the surprise of those around her to pursue her purpose in the furniture design field. She is a hands-on person and that influenced her decision to return to Nigeria to do more research on materials and to explore the possibilities of local production.
Her inspiration for arts has always been to share the Nigerian culture through a contemporary lens. She has always had the strong conviction that the global design industry needs to better reflect the diverse world we live in.
“I believe that, as Africans, we have something to add to the global design conversation. We don’t need to look up to others or try to replicate what others are doing. I believe by looking within, we can go further. Our culture is so diverse and rich with so much inspiration to draw from. Studio Lani started as an investigation to explore African possibilities in furniture design,” she said.